homeschooling little ones from the kitchen table

This blog is a place where I mainly love to just write. 

But as I am homeschooling this year, I thought it also might be a great place to share some of what we are doing from time to time.

I’ve received some emails recently asking me what curriculum I chose for the girls this year, if I am involved in any homeschool groups, and what I am doing with little Charles while I teach my girls.

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CURRICULUM:

While my children are young, I want to keep things as simple as possible. The day will come too soon when they will have lots of formal instruction every day. But I want to keep kindergarten at home as fun as it can be. My focus has been on two main things: getting a good start in math and teaching AudreyKate (who is in kindergarten) to read.

I am using Saxon Math this year. I like it for a couple reasons. It is mainly what my mom used with us growing up so I’m familiar with it and it is very straightforward. I also chose it because the daily calendar is incorporated in to each lesson when you use Saxon’s Meeting Book.

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We live in a 1200 sq foot house, and I homeschool from our kitchen table (or the backyard), so I don’t have a lot of room for posters or a morning meeting corner. Everything I use, I need to be able to put away when school is over. The meeting book covers all the basics I would teach if I were teaching in a classroom (date, days of the week, counting, weather, etc), without all the cuteness. But I do have this cute old fashioned slider calendar I like to use with the girls to keep track of the date.

The other main curriculum I am using this year is Logic of English. I did a lot of research before I ordered this series (I watched almost all these videos!) because I wanted to make sure it would really work for us. At the end of the day, I went with it because I love the phonogram approach. I think a lot of this is due to the fact that I struggled to learn to read as a child. Among other things, when my mom began teaching me phonograms, I think that really helped things click for this literal learner.  I went from not being able to read at all, to reading Little House in the Big Woods!

This curriculum has been a lot of fun for us and I really like the instruction for teaching cursive writing. I am teaching AudreyKate cursive first because a). I really want her to be able write in cursive for the rest of her life, and b). because cursive requires less fine motor control than print.

IMG_2573.JPGThis year, I am also teaching a little phonogram/handwriting class at my home with one of AudreyKate’s friends. I pack a lot into our two hours of class each week, but it is such a fun time and the girls do a lot of games and multi-sensory activities as they focus on their phonograms and cursive writing.

In terms of Evangeline, I am using a lot of preschool books I have had for a while and used off and on with the girls (I will link some at the bottom). My amazing mother-in-law also does preschool once a week with Evangeline over FaceTime. They work on her letters and read lots of books. I just love that Lulu makes time to do this with Evie and it helps me immensely as I always use this time to work with AudreyKate.

Grant does Bible with the kids every evening. I know I could do this first thing in the morning, but between unloading the dishwasher and getting everyone breakfast, I usually want to get started on AK’s seat work first thing. But I love that no matter how late or tired Grant is, he always reads to them and explains the Bible lesson so well. Right now he is going through The New Children’s Bible by Anne DeVries. 

EXTRACURRICULAR

IMG_2282.JPGOne of the recurring questions I’ve been asked is if we are doing Classical Conversations this year. I ALMOST did, but in the end I decided not to for a couple reasons.

{I will say that everyone I know who does CC loves it (you know who you are ~ Amy Grimme and Mel Reedus to name a couple!) and the program seems amazing!}

However for this school year, I wanted to have the complete flexibility homeschooling provides. The nature of Grant’s schedule and PhD work means that sometimes we travel during the school year ~ so I didn’t want a Friday morning commitment each week (our CC is on Fridays). And I only do school 4 days a week right now ~ so Friday is our off day that I use to play catch-up, do housework, or do something fun with the kids.

IMG_4290.JPGAudreyKate is taking an art class this year at a local art studio run by two artists. This is one morning each week. I love this because it gives AK time to learn and do something she absolutely loves (with an incredibly talented artist) and it gives me focused time with the younger two.

We also have the girls in ballet this fall. They both really look forward to it each week, especially Evangeline!

And lastly, we have our Bible program at our church every Wednesday night, so all those things fill  up their little preschool/kindergarten week very quickly!

CHARLES

IMG_4291.JPGOkay, lastly, I received a couple questions asking what I do with Charles when I’m trying to do school with the girls.

I know I could probably do school in the afternoons while he is napping, but I really am one of those people that likes to get it done in the morning. The girls still have a rest time every afternoon and I use that time for a lot of different things and I typically don’t like to cut into that.

Little brother often plays in his room (we have a baby gate so he stays put with all baby safe things). Many mornings Evangeline will play with him and I can hear everything going on from right outside his door.

Charles also has his “reading time” most mornings in his crib. Some of his favorite books are Cowboy Small ( we ABSOLUTELY adore this book), The Little Train (another favorite by Lois Lenski), Dada (this one is just fun), Mighty Dads (a new favorite for us), and The Magic Bunny (my mom gave this to us when Charles was born and it is the sweetest). Those are just a few of his favorites right now but maybe I will share some more soon.

And Charles will often just join us while we are working on school. I bring some of his toys and he is typically content to mosey around with a train in hand, watching us work.

FINAL THOUGHTS

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I think one of the biggest things that has helped me this year is keeping things SIMPLE curriculum wise so that I have plenty of margin to read to my girls and make sure they have time to create and play (along with the things I want to do for my own  spiritual growth). I want to have lots of time for discovery in the backyard, trips to the library, and snuggling on the couch. And also because everyone is so little, I need to be able to get all of our “seat work” done in a doable amount of time. If preschool and kindergarten are overwhelming, than I figure I am probably trying to do too much.

I’ve gotten a lot of great book ideas from The Read Aloud Revival podcast as well as from literature lists from my student teaching days (I have more resources than I know what to do with). I also just ordered this book and am excited to get started on it.

There are so many great resources available for homeschooling, this is just how we are going about it this year. When AudreyKate started reading Dick & Jane to me a few weeks ago (on her own initiative!), I felt really encouraged that at least some of what we are doing is working.

I am going to link some of the other resources I use below and I would LOVE to hear any suggestion you have and please let me know if you’d like to see more posts like this now and again.

from my heart to yours,

GraceAnna

 

Preschool

Usborne Wipe-Clean 1,2,3

Usborne Wipe-Clean First Letters

Preschool practice

Kindergarten

What Your Kindergartener Needs to Know (we read this on the couch right after lunch, before rest time)

Cursive Practice

Doodling Dragons (part of our Logic of English curriculum. I also use this for my phonogram class)

Student Whiteboard (I use this for EVERYTHING!)

Pointers (these are great for guided reading) I also use these lighted pointers but they have button batteries so I keep them out of reach except when I am using them with the girls.

This is my home, this is my school

As many of you know, my brothers and I were homeschooled our entire growing up years. There’s so much I love about schooling at home ~ not just the memories I have of discovery and learning through the world as our schoolroom, but the ways in which I feel like it cultivated a love of learning in my own heart.

My husband, Grant was in public education his whole life and yet the home was still the center of education. His mom (and dad) were involved in his education every step of the way and were wholly invested in not only helping him learn, but raising him to be a young man of character.

My love for learning, led me to study Early Childhood Education at Clemson. And there is much I love about teaching my own children as we embark on our own education journey.

I have received some emails asking me what we are doing this year for education with our children. I thought it would be easy to compile some of those questions and answer them from here.

But before I do that, I wanted to share the sweetest book my mom gave me when I was home in S.C. last week. I have a special place in my heart for children’s books. I think this is in part to my own journey as a student, and then a teacher. It takes a unique talent to create a story which engages children while also speaking to the hearts of adults.

Children are future adults! So if a children’s book doesn’t stir my heart as I read it to my kids, it never makes it on my favorites list.

But in my opinion, this book does everything a good children’s book should!

For those of you who belong to the early pioneering days of homeschooling, my guess is you will really identify with this book. And of course, for all the current homeschooling mothers, if you’re anything like me, you will for sure wonder if someone took sketches of your own life and plastered them on the pages.

But I think all those who strive to make the home the center of education in the life of their children will love it as well.

The pages of this gem (written by a now grown-up homeschooler, Jonathan Bean), rang true to my memories of homeschooling. Whether it was my dad drilling multiplication facts into my head or my mom somehow managing to run our home and educate us at the same time.

And it also speaks to me now ~ as this year I attempt teaching my little ones at home at our kitchen table and backyard.

Here are some of my favorite pages of the book. I could have shared every one, but I promise I didn’t! I snapped these pics on a gloomy day, so they are a little dark, but I have a feeling you may not be able to resist getting your own copy.

This Is My Home, This Is My School

 

I hope this made you smile this morning, as you get started on your day with little ones! And I look forward to sharing what we are doing in homeschooling this year in my next post!

Unseen Footprints 

I sat across from Grant at a corner booth in a steak restaurant in Singapore.

He had been my husband six months, but we’d already been separated for two. It had been hard. Not just because we were newly married and living on opposite sides of the world, but because of the fear in my heart.

And now, we were together for just a couple days. This South Carolina girl had boarded a plane and flown to the other side of the world, flagged a taxi at the airport, and arrived at a hotel to wait for my husband to dock and meet me. My feet had been so swollen from the over 24-hour journey, I had to retrieve flip-flops from my bag at the airport.

I was already doing things I never imagined I would. And now, I had two full days with him before he had to get back on that navy ship and sail back into the vast expanse of the Indian Ocean.

I held his hand as my steak sat going cold, “Grant, I just can’t. I can’t. I love you too much to let you go back.”

I was new at this marriage thing and this Marine Corps thing and I loved him so much. We had only been together all of 23 days during our long-distance dating and engagement. We didn’t have time like most couples do. And now, this is what our marriage was like. Deployment. We knew it was coming and we had decided to get married anyway. And it was worth it. But the ache was deep.

I loved him but I couldn’t keep him. I had to let him go. Again. I couldn’t control what happened out there in that ocean. Nothing should happen but anything could happen. The Navy and Marines would sail and be ready in case of a national disaster.

Please, Lord, no disasters.

As the tears streamed down my face, Grant squeezed my hand. “GraceAnna, you have to give me to the Lord. You have to trust Him. You have to love Him more than you love me.”

That, of course, had been the theme of our relationship from the beginning. Grant had told me just a few weeks into our dating relationship that he held me with an open hand to God.

I didn’t like that, exactly. It didn’t feel secure. I wanted to be held clenched in his fist, close to his heart. Not open and laid bare.

But I found that as soon as I held Grant too close, even then, my world began to spin. Those had been uncertain days when we had first started dating. I was putting my heart out there to a Marine who I had exchanged a brief “hello” with in high school. And we were dating from different sides of the world.

It was a strange thing, the more I handed my heart to the Lord, the stronger I felt.

I didn’t know that the hard lessons I was learning in those early days and in that steak restaurant in Singapore would be the ones I would keep going back to over and over again.

I wanted it to be over. I wanted Grant back. I wanted to have a home. I wanted security.

In Psalm 131, David tells the story of a child’s first great sorrow in life. He is denied what he so desperately longs for, his mother’s milk. His mother has been his solace and comfort from his first breath, and now she denies him the very thing that has made him feel secure and loved.

As a mom who has weaned three babies, I know this battle. My son, especially, I struggled with weaning him. He didn’t like it and neither did I.

The process felt cruel even though I knew it was exactly what he needed.

Surely I have composed and quieted my soul; like a weaned child rests against his mother, my soul is like a weaned child within me. (131:2)

There is sorrow until the child quits fighting, and instead of being angry, buries his head in his mother’s chest in sweet relief.

The child finds his comfort when he quits fighting for what he thinks he needs.

And there is a contentment there, when the fight is over, and the child trusts his mother and realizes he is weaned on her but is not weaned from her.

What lessons I have learned from this child. So often, I want to cling tightly to what I think I need or can hold on to. I want to hold so tightly to my husband. I want to protect my children. I want to order my life in the way I think it should go. I want to shield those I love from every heartache.

When I cling so tightly in my own strength, my soul is not at rest. I am full of fear. I feel the vast ocean showing me all the things that are out of my control.

But when I quit fighting, and look to Him, I find that He is right there with me in the storm.

“Your way was through the sea, your path through the great waters, yet your footprints were unseen. Yet you lead your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron (Psalm 77:10).”

God didn’t lead the children through green pastures to get to green pastures. He led them through the Red Sea. There were things they wanted to go around, yet He led them through them showing them every step of the way that He was there. In the day, there was the cloud, and in the night there was the fire. He was there. Always there.

And God often leads his people this way. The waters in Scripture often refer to uncertainty, chaos, and death. I can hardly imagine what Jocabed felt when she placed her darling boy into the waters in only a wicker basket. God saved her boy but she had to give him up to the waters.

Job, didn’t understand the trials God was bringing Him through but said in faith, “He knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I will come forth as gold (job 23:10).

There are times when we feel like God is withholding something good from us, like a child feels when his mother is weaning him, but when we trust Him, we understand that He is holding us and caring for us all the way.

He is faithfully leading us like a shepherd leads his flock. And He will bring us through.

This past month and a half, I have felt some of the deepest painI have ever known as my sweet and precious niece went home to be with the Lord.

A song that has brought me much comfort and was played in church the Sunday she went to be with Jesus says this:

Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful.

C.H. Spurgeon in a sermon he gave on happiness said this, “The Christian trusts him where he cannot trace him, looks up to him in the darkest hour and believes that all is well.”

All is well. Not because the waters aren’t there, but because He is there in the midst of them.

I wasn’t very good at bidding farewell to Grant that day when he set sail. And that was just the beginning.

But I know this. No matter what, God never leaves His children alone. There is no night too dark, no valley too deep, and no mountain too high. He is there. He will bring us through.

And in this my heart finds peace.

O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and forevermore. Ps 131:3

 

 

 

 

 

the moments we make time for

IMG_1323.JPGThis summer has been somewhat of a whirlwind for our little family. Ever since Grant has been in graduate school, it seems we do a very good job of packing our summers as full as we can with family visits, work conferences, and  borderline insane travel itineraries for three children five and under.

The past few days we have been winding down and experiencing some normalcy at home. I have been tackling organization projects and trying to catch up on laundry and ironing and unpacking the mound of clothes in the girls’ room.

Tonight as Grant finished up a little work, I put the girls to bed and I was feeling the exhaustion from how hard I had been pushing all day. “Can you read us a Bible story?” the girls chimed in together when I was ready to turn out the light.

Now THAT’s a difficult one to say “no” to. Fairy tales, no problem. Stories of when I was little, also easier. But a BIBLE STORY, well that’s problematic.

“Girls, Mommy is SO very tired and it is WAY past your bedtime. Let’s do a story in the morning.”

“Mommy???” AudreyKate sweetly and cleverly countered, “How about we tell YOU a Bible story?”

I teetered on the edge for a moment, in my head saying “no,” but instead out came something like a “Yes.”

“Well,” AudreyKate began, “Once upon a time there was a man named Noah. And the people were very bad and didn’t love God. So God told him to build a boat and he did.”

Her face lit up as she began to recall the details of Noah’s construction of the ark, the flood, and the forty days and forty nights they were all on the boat.

“First, he sent out a black bird and it just kept flying and flying. Then,” her hand gesturing the bird’s flight, “He sent out a dove and it kept flying. Then he sent out another dove and it brought back a tiny piece of leaf, and then he sent out one more dove and it never came back and Noah knew there was dry land.”

As I listened, I couldn’t believe with what accuracy she relayed Noah sending out the fowl.

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I even went and fact-checked it in Genesis 8. Surely she had added an extra bird in there.

I kissed her face, which was now satisfactorily delighted by her apt audience (of two). I felt no less tired, but my spirit was lifted somehow.

As I closed the door I thought to myself, “I’m SO glad I made time for that.”

I never feel like there are enough hours in the day to complete the tasks I want to accomplish. And I don’t even consider myself a very busy person. I’m not solving the world’s problems. But I am thankful when God gives me the grace to make time.

Taking a few moments to stop and pray for a friend. Jotting down a Bible verse to meditate on throughout the day. Writing a quick thank-you note or a text to let someone know I’m thinking of them. Packing Grant a lunch or sitting down and listening to my little girl tell me a Bible story.

Sometimes I think that I must be refreshed and my schedule must be clear to have time, but if I wait for that, I will most likely never have time.

I don’t always know what the right things are to make time for with my kids (I do believe it is good for them to hear no). But I do know this, I will probably never be less busy or my schedule more laid-back (if I am doing what God has called me to). I will just be busy with different things. Less diapering, more of something else.

Of course, in my busy moments of taking care of a home and little ones, I often think about how busy Jesus was in his earthly ministry.

The cares of the world. So many needs around him. No time. And I don’t say these things lightly.

He was on his way to die (on the road to Jericho), when blind Bartimaeus cried out to him, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many told Bartimaeus to be silent.

But then those next words, Jesus stopped.

So many people. A cross to bear. A world to die for.

He must have been under intense stress. I can’t even imagine it. He was going to suffer and die by the hands of evil men.

And yet He stopped.

This wasn’t the only time He did this. It is one of the hallmarks of Jesus’ ministry – making time for individuals.

So busy and yet all these moments. He didn’t heal everyone. But He made time for so many.

And because Jesus stopped that day, Bartimaeus regained his sight. There was such a big thing to do, and yet the little thing mattered. And it was no little thing to Bartimaeus.

But I so often think that just the big things matter. All I see are my goals or the “next thing” that I just need to do.

But the little things on the way to the big things matter too. And sometimes those little things are life-changing and soul uplifting!

And they can make the world of difference in the life of a child.

IMG_0982.JPG“Remember when you used to wrap me in towel and swing me in the air?”

“I love it when you sing the toothbrush song.”

“Remember when I used to fall asleep laying on your chest?”

“Mommy, this is the best day ever.”

The big things matter. The work matters. But so do the little things along the way.

Because He stopped.

And everything is changed.

 

 

What Makes a Home


Earlier this week, I shared at a women’s event on what home means to me. This is an excerpt from that night. 

I loved home as a child. Home was a happy place for me and I loved being there. I say these things with gratefulness knowing that for many home was not such a place.

My home was not perfect, but if I were to pick just one thing to explain why I loved home it would be this one thing –  because the gospel was present.

1). The Gospel Makes a Home

From my earliest memories, my parents were sharing the gospel with me. I have so many memories of this. Early memories.

Riding in my Dad’s green Volkswagen as a five year old and listening intently as he explained that my heart was terribly sinful.

That is not something you’ll often hear that you should tell your child. But even as a child I knew I was.

And it was understanding my own heart problem that I felt the gravity of Christ’s death on the cross.

It wasn’t  just a story. I needed His forgiveness.

I also remember the warm summer evening when I prayed to receive Christ on the front porch swing with my mom and dad on either side of me.

While I have many fun memories of home, they all pale in comparison to these memories.

Now was a parent myself, I recognize that even though I try to shield my children as much as possible, they are still confronted with the hard realities of a fallen world just as I was as a child.

Even the happiest of homes cannot erase the realities of sickness, disease, death, and sin. And the home is the first place these questions are either answered or left unanswered.

I was reading a blog not too long ago where a young mom wrote that she didn’t know how to explain to her young child the concept of death.

Her son had said he didn’t want to grow up because then his parents would die and he would die. She didn’t know what to say. And she asked the question to her blog readers what she should tell her child.

My heart grieved for her because without the Gospel there is no good answer to those questions.

This is where the Gospel transforms our homes. Home becomes a place of comfort in the cross.

Home isn’t a good place because it’s a perfect place. Home is a good place because it’s a forgiven place.

A place where God’s forgiveness is taught and forgiveness is modeled to one another.

Any mom can keep a tidy house, or even make her home her domain, but if the Gospel isn’t there, the home is lacking the most important foundation.

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” – Matthew 7:24



2).  The Word Makes a Home

It is God’s Word that bring joy and order to a home. We know from Duet 6 and Ephesians 5 that children are to be brought up in the admonition and instruction of the Lord.

It is God’s Word which keeps children from falling with wayward women and wicked men as the Proverbs talk about.

Growing up, we were always encouraged to be in God’s Word. When my dad gave me my first Bible inscribed in the front he wrote, “This book will keep you from sin or sin will keep you from this Book.”

God’s word is a lamp unto our feet and a light to our path.

It brings light to the home as we meditate on it, memorize it, pray it, and study it. And as we teach our children the Word we build a foundation for our children to know and love God’s life giving Word.

I am thankful for the many verses I memorized as a child. Even though I didn’t fully understand what many of them meant, God used them to impress His truth on my heart then and as I grew in my knowledge of Him.

The Word brings light and life to even the simplest of homes. A home with the Word is one everyone wants to be because they are welcomed and loved in such a home.

Lastly, and what we’ve talked about so much tonight.

3). A Godly Woman Makes a Home

You have heard tonight on the importance of a mother’s role in the home, so that is the aspect I am going to focus on next.

It is such an important role, and that is why I love the first two points so much. Because without the gospel and the Word, where would any of us be as mothers?

Keeping the gospel and God’s Word as our foundation for mothering is so vital because when you’re actually in the busyness of it, sometimes it can be difficult to see.

In the cyclical days of mothering, I often cannot see how everything is coming together in my children’s lives.

I am folding laundry, I am picking princess dresses off the floor for the umpteenth time, I’m cleaning the kitchen again, I’m reading books on the couch, I’m brushing teeth, I’m dealing with a discipline issue, I’m making someone eat their supper, I’m grabbing a few moments in the Word,  I’m being woken up again, I’m oversleeping again, I’m interrupted again, I’m frustrated, I’m memorizing a Bible verse, I’m catching lightning bugs, I’m holding their hands, and we all go round again.

Sometimes, it feels a bit like a carousel, with both cheery and fretful songs in an alternating pattern. And I wonder if we are going somewhere. Oh I know we are, I really do, but I can’t quite see ahead and I feel like I’ve seen this scenery before.

Last week, I was reading in the book of John and came across these words from Jesus:

“My food, is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work.”

His food.

His sustainment.

His nourishment.

It came from doing God’s will.

Sometimes I think I will find the rest I need by kicking my feet up on the couch in complete silence.

I also find a certain satisfaction from a tidy house and a home cooked meal, or a cleaned out junk drawer.

But here is the truth, those things cannot sustain any woman.  Any wife. Or goodness knows, any mother.

Even though that is the message we are often told (and often tell ourselves). That all these other things will satisfy our hearts.

I’ve  found joy in knowing that I am actually sustained as I do what God has called me to do. Because I find strength in His strength.

And I don’t have to finish all the work, because Jesus did it for me.

The mother makes a home. Not just because of all the things that she does to provide for her family, but because of the God she rests in. That brings a light and a joy and a happiness to even the messiest abodes.

I love Psalm 90:1″O Lord you have been our dwelling place in all generations.”

The Gospel makes a home, the Word makes a home, a mother makes a home, but it is the Lord who is our dwelling place and makes our earthly homes – whether simple or grandeur – mirror our one day heavenly home.

Count It Pure Joy: a generation returning to motherhood

  A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to share at the CBMW T4G pre-conference. I talked about motherhood. Of course if you read this blog, you could have probably guessed that. It’s my life right now, so it is the place I am learning my biggest lessons. This talk really won’t be anything new to those of you who have followed along here for a while, but it’s so much of my heart behind my writing so I wanted to share:

Count It Pure Joy: A Generation Returning To Motherhood

If you are looking for another talk on motherhood, check out Pastor Kevin Deyoung’s talk. There are so many great ones on the site, so I encourage you to check them out. I always love listening to sermons and podcasts while I’m doing housework or at the gym. 

Two of my current favorites are the Read Aloud Revival podcast(so fun!) and Dr. Mohler’s line-by-line series on Exodus (found on his app, Albert Mohler). 

Hope you have a wonderful Tuesday! 

Love from my home to yours,

GraceAnna

Just For Them

  I lay still, Evangeline nestled in the crook of my arm and AudreyKate on the bed above me, holding my hand. 

This is our routine. I lay down with one of them, and then my hand dangles down to the trundle or up beside the spindles on their twin bed. 

I don’t always lay down with them. But I do a lot. Not every night, but more than every other. 

I’ve read this could mess them up. Just like a bunch of other things I might be doing could mess them up. But here I am, laying here, as the soft glow of lamplight from the living room cascades across my girls’ faces as they drift to sleep. 

 I know exactly what Grant is doing in the other room. He’s either reading his Bible or deep in a theology book from one of his never-ending stacks all over the house. One day we will buy real bookshelves. Until then, I keep sending boxes to his office and yet the books keep creeping back in bags and stacks and satchels. 

And that’s how we’ve agreed to make it work. For three years living in 900 square feet with two children, and now in 1275 square feet with three. The great book exchange.

“You can lay down with them,” he always tells me (and some nights he does too). “I’ll read and then we can talk when you’re done.” And that’s what we do. Sometimes his music from the other room causes even me to doze off for a few minutes.  

I used to think I was doing the laying down part for them. That is still my genuine intention. 

They long for connection with me. They need connection with me. They will remember this. 

The stories. The songs. The hugs. I know it will shape them just as it did when my mom did it with me and Grant’s mom with him.

So I manage to find a place around the two Madeline dolls, the six bunnies, and the blankies, and I am finally still after a typical full day. 

I’m doing it for them. But just in the past few months, I’ve realized how much it is for me too. 

I can’t explain it really, but there, nestled in the quiet, I can think. 

Scripture comes to my mind. Prayer. I think about the day and all the moments. I remember where I’ve been and how God keeps showing Himself to be faithful. 

I think about the missionary story we read this morning about Helen Roseveare and the verse God used to stir my heart:

Before they call I will answer, while they are yet speaking I will hear. Isaiah 65:24

He answers before we even pray. That’s what kind of God He is.

I think of how it sometimes seems preposterous to me to claim a Psalm. How could I believe that God would walk with me just as He did David? Or Jesus for that matter?

And then I remember I am now in union with Christ. He has given me every spiritual blessing and because He became poor, I am rich. That changes everything. 

My girls are asleep now and they’ve been so for longer than I realize. I get up to go spend some time with Grant, hear his thoughts on whatever passage of Scripture he’s studying or listen to one of his funny stories. That’s one of my favorite parts of the day, when he makes me laugh. It will be quiet now. Just us. 

I pause, glancing back at my girls’arms and legs sprawled across the blankets, sleeping free as only little children do. 

This was for them. It really was. Just like it was last night and several night before that. 

But as I keep on learning in this journey of motherhood, when I’m confident it is just for them, I discover it is also for me.